From the Editor

By Carol Berkin

To celebrate the launch of Gilder Lehrman’s new website, we at History Now thought it appropriate to provide readers with a special, expanded issue. We chose for our topic one of the central themes in our national history: the causes and consequences of war. We asked eleven leading historians to explore the ways in which our society has been shaped and reshaped by battlefield conflicts and by the political, technological, and social changes that these conflicts bring in their wake. Thus, in this special issue of History Now, our essays consider conflicts ranging from the imperial rivalries between the French and the English in America, the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the battle of the Alamo, Antietam, war in the Philippines, World Wars I and II, the Korean conflict, Vietnam, and our modern-day Operation Desert Storm. Whether they focus on military strategies, technological innovations, the psychological impact of defeat, the human costs, or the political consequences of these wars, our scholars provide new insights and new information that we hope you, as teachers, can use in your classrooms.

Our lesson plans reflect the best ideas of our master teachers on how to integrate primary sources into the examination of America at war. Our interactive feature offers samples of primary documents within the rich collection of the Gilder Lehrman Institute. And our indefatigable archivist provides a guide to additional resources for half as dozen of the essays included in this issue.

As the editor of History Now, I want to end with my congratulations to the Institute on the launching of its brilliantly conceived new website which makes available to history teachers and history lovers everywhere such a wealth of resources for our use and enjoyment. It is evidence once again of the commitment of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to the critical task of sustaining an educated and discerning American public.